Reporting live from Southeast Alaska.
We are in the beginning chapters of an epic five week surf adventure. More details on this trip coming soon . . But to get things rolling here is a report from a couple days of surfing the local in-town break in Sitka, Alaska – Sandy Beach.
On the flight down from Anchorage Mike and I were glued to the windows. As our Alaska Airlines jet slipped down out of the clouds our stoke hit new heights. Through the mist we could see a coastline covered in white explosions as the 17ft Westerly swell crashed into all sorts of rocky reefs and beaches.
Surely we set some kind of record with our time from the pilot turning off the ‘fasten seat belts light ‘ and catching our first wave at Sandy Beach. It just happened that we thought this might happen, so we packed our bags accordingly, a wetsuit, boots and gloves in each board bag. The tide was right, the break was on and we pulled up in our rented minivan rock and roll ready. A friendly local in the parking lot said this is it, with the big tides it won’t last long. Rights and lefts, take your pick both with faces between four and eight feet and an offshore breeze. It was just us and one local Sitka surfer out for a good while before a few more joined in the fun.
Much to our delight this sweet little in town break produced fun sessions on each tide cycle for several days. We were able to work on preparing the M/V Milo for our surf adventure between sessions. On the third day we had enough boat work done to throw off the lines and motor out of the harbor in search of a beach on the outer coast that was sure to be catching more of the potential of this 10-20ft swell rolling in the Gulf of Alaska. Sitka is close to the outer coast, in fact you can basically see it from town, but a series of small islands break the incoming swell up enough to keep things pretty tame at Sandy Beach. Sitting there in the lineup you can look out and see the swell exploding on the islands and rocks as it makes it’s way into town. But nobody can complain parking the car 100 yards from a fun little break like Sandy Beach right in town.
Thanks to all the local Sitka surfers for welcoming us. We’ve had a great time meeting our cold water brothers (and sister) and hope to be surfing with you all again very soon. In fact, sitting here in the harbor I can see the swell hitting the breakwater, the tide is coming up and it looks like we better finish up some projects here on the M/V Milo and go check the break.
The water temps have been about 48-50ºF with lots of rain and air temps around 35-45ºF and winds up to 15mph. Mike and I have been wearing 7mm Xcel Boots. Love them. I’ve been using my 3mm Xcel gloves and Mike’s been choosing the 5mm three-fingers. That’s all great. The suits though, have been too much. These temps feels like summer to us and we’ve been swimming in sweat each session. I’ve been wearing the new Matuse Tumo 6/5mm mostly and burning up hot, wish I had a 4/3! The ‘hidden air chamber’ hood can cook your brains if you’re not careful. Mike has been wearing a Xcel 5/4 Infiniti and not as miserably hot as me, but still more suit than is needed for these temps.